San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday Midday News Roundup

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SF: Market Street Reopens After Muni Collision Sends 15 to Hospitals

Fifteen people were taken to hospitals -- including a number of children -- when a San Francisco Municipal Railway bus and a streetcar collided this morning on Market Street.

The accident, which involved a 9L-San Bruno bus and the F-Market and Wharves streetcar, happened around 11 a.m. at Market and Sixth streets.

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said 15 people were taken to four hospitals, including four adults who were taken to San Francisco General Hospital with moderate injuries.

Seven children were among those transported, she said.

None of the injuries are life-threatening. Others were evaluated at the scene but declined to be transported.

"It was a little chaotic initially," the chief said. Harold Day, who said he witnessed the collision while walking across Market Street toward UN Plaza, said the eastbound 9L was stopped and the streetcar was moving east slowing when it rear-ended the bus.

He said he saw people on the bus get tossed around by the impact.

He didn't see anyone with visible injuries, but he saw a girl crying and a man comforting her. "It was really difficult to see that little girl ... crying," Day said.

"It was totally unreal." Around 11:45 a.m., a woman who appeared to be one of the victims was walking away from the scene with an ice pack on her right shoulder.

Thais Schwab, a camp counselor with Vision Academy, said she was on the 9L with a group of 31 elementary and middle school students when the collision occurred.

She said about 11 of them were injured when the bus was hit from behind. Another person, who declined to be identified, reported seeing many children with ice packs on their heads.

Market Street was shut down between Sixth and Seventh streets.

Muni spokesman Paul Rose said the road was expected to reopen around 12:30 p.m.

Santa Clara Co.: Son of Worker Killed at 49ers Stadium Site Says Family Wants Answers

A son of an elevator worker who was killed Tuesday at the construction site for the San Francisco 49ers' new stadium in Santa Clara said today the family is struggling to come to grips with the loss and wants answers.

"I really have no idea what's going on," Cody White, 32, said of the death of his father, Donald White, in an apparent accident inside an elevator shaft.

"We're just kind of holding on, figuring it out," Cody said from his home in Redwood City.

Family members will be meeting today with Donald's wife, Wendy, who came to Redwood City from the couple's home in Sacramento, "and we'll be getting things sorted out," he said.

The accident was reported at 6:53 a.m. at the future site of Levi's Stadium, the $1.3 billion football stadium project at Centennial Boulevard and Tasman Drive set to open in 2014.

White, 63, was an employee of subcontractor Schindler Elevator Corp. and a 43-year veteran in the elevator trades, according to Robert Rayborn, stadium project co-director with general contractor Turner-Devcon.

The union worker was apparently standing on a ladder beneath the counterweight of an elevator when the counterweight "came down and struck him," said Peter Melton, a spokesman for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, which is investigating the incident.

Turner-Devcon halted construction after White's death and announced that work on the stadium would not resume until early Thursday morning.

Cody White said his family wants to know exactly what occurred at the time Donald was killed.

"We have questions and they will be answered," he said.

"They will take a little bit of time." Donald had been living with Wendy in Sacramento but was staying at Cody's home temporarily while working on elevators for the stadium project "so he wouldn't have to be by himself in a hotel room," Cody said.

"He was our Dad, he was the best," said Cody, a communications electrician and one of Donald's four adult sons.

"He wouldn't hurt a fly -- he'd give you the shirt off his back," Cody said.

An officer worker at the San Francisco-based International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 8, of which Donald White was a member, said that the union's business manager was at a meeting at the construction site this morning.

SF: Police Commission to Consider $50K Settlement for Bystander Shot in 2011

An innocent bystander who was shot by police in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood in 2011 could receive $50,000 in a settlement being considered by the city's Police Commission at its meeting this evening.

Jessica Orozco and an Oakley man were injured in the shooting, which happened at about 2 a.m. on Sept. 17, 2011 in the 400 block of Broadway, police said.

Officers were chasing Jesus Paredes Rodriguez, whom they had witnessed allegedly conducting a drug transaction and who tried to flee after police patted him down, police said.

Police said that as he fled, Rodriguez, who was 20 at the time, allegedly pulled out a TEC-9 gun and pointed it at officers but didn't shoot. An officer fired his service weapon in self-defense, missing Rodriguez but hitting Orozco and the other bystander, who were behind him in a parking lot, police said.

Orozco was hit in the right thigh and is still experiencing residual numbness in her leg, her attorney Edward Casey said today.

Casey filed a lawsuit on Orozco's behalf in U.S. District Court against the city and county of San Francisco and the police officers involved in the incident.

Casey said the shooting wasn't necessary because Rodriguez was getting rid of his gun and throwing it to the ground rather than pointing it at the officers.

"It's something that happened that shouldn't have happened but the officers felt the need to try to protect the public," he said.

The case against Rodriguez is still pending in court, Casey said. Police Chief Greg Suhr held a community meeting in the days after the shooting and said, "The department cannot feel worse about having two bystanders injured."

Suhr said, "However, the alternative of having a suspect with this weapon ... could've been a lot worse."

The $50,000 settlement was reached in April but has to be approved by the city's Board of Supervisors.

The Police Commission is meeting this evening and will consider recommending approval of the settlement to the board. The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in Room 400 at City Hall.

Regional: Emergency Response Drill Underway in Bay Today

Dozens of agencies from throughout the Bay Area are participating in an emergency response drill on the San Francisco Bay today, a bridge district spokeswoman said.

The Golden Gate Ferry division of the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District is hosting the interagency exercise, spokeswoman Mary Currie said.

The U.S. Coast Guard has established a "safety zone" for the training south of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in an area where San Francisco, Marin and Contra Costa counties share jurisdiction, Currie said.

Currie said the training is the third in a series of three such exercises intended to test and improve local agencies' ability to respond to a security-related emergency on the Bay.

Two ferries are being used in today's drill. Some of the activity may be visible from the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and from certain spots in Marin, San Francisco, Contra Costa and Alameda counties, Currie said.

Multiple emergency response vehicles will be at the scene, and white smoke may be visible, she said.

About two-dozen agencies from throughout the Bay Area are participating, as well as the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, Currie said. The training will last throughout the day, ending around 5 p.m.

Regional: Caltrans, CHP Crews Picking Up Litter in Annual Cleanup Today

A massive litter cleanup is under way today on highways throughout the Bay Area, a Caltrans spokesman said. Caltrans and California Highway Patrol crews will be at four locations picking up trash as part of the 10th annual Litter Cleanup and Enforcement Day, Caltrans spokesman Adam Priest said.

A total of roughly 40 crewmembers will participate in the cleanup, which is a way to let Bay Area residents know that trash buildup on highways "is an issue that we need to bring attention to," Priest said.

In San Jose, the cleanup was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. along U.S. Highway 101. Crews are picking up trash between Interstate Highway 280 and state Highway 237.

A second cleanup is taking place throughout the morning farther north on Highway 101, between the Sierra Point Parkway exit in Brisbane and the Candlestick Park exit in San Francisco.

In the Oakland-Alameda area, crews are removing litter from Doolittle Drive between Hegenberger Road and Island Drive.

The final cleanup is taking place in Marin County on Highway 101 between Tiburon Boulevard and Tamalpais Drive in Corte Madera, and over the Alto Hill, Priest said.

Priest said that in addition to the annual one-day event, smaller cleanups are done quarterly.

Anyone who wants to help remove litter from highways can do so through Caltrans' Adopt-a-Highway program. More information about the program can be found at www.dot.ca.gov.

Antioch: 21-Year-Old Man Fatally Shot

A young man was fatally shot this morning in Antioch, according to police. Police received a report of a shooting in the 1900 block of D Street, near Fremont Elementary School and Antioch High School, at 12:26 a.m.

Upon arrival, officers found a 21-year-old Antioch man with a gunshot wound.

Medical personnel and police officers tried to save his life, but the victim later died at a hospital, according to police.

The Antioch Police Department Investigations Bureau is continuing to investigate the homicide and identify suspects, police said.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Antioch police at (925) 779-6894.

East Palo Alto: Man Arrested on Drug, Gun Charges After Search Warrant Served

A 20-year-old man was arrested on drug and weapons charges after police served a search warrant in East Palo Alto on Tuesday, Menlo Park police said today.

Police converged on a property in the 800 block of Runnymede Street to search the premises as part of an investigation into the ongoing sales of methamphetamine, acting police Cmdr. Eric Cowans said.

The search yielded a stolen pistol, a rifle and a large amount of methamphetamine packaged for sale, according to police.

Officers arrested Yannique Devillez, of East Palo Alto, on charges of possession of a controlled substance while armed, possession of a controlled substance for sale and possession of stolen property.

Devillez was taken to San Mateo County Jail where he is being held on $200,000 bail, according to police.

Palo Alto: Armed Suspect Robs 7-Eleven Early This Morning

A 7-Eleven store in Palo Alto was robbed at gunpoint early this morning, police said.

Officers responded to a report of an armed robbery at the 7-Eleven at 708 Colorado Ave. at about 12:10 a.m., Palo Alto police Detective Sgt. Brian Philip said.

An investigation determined that a male suspect had entered the store, pointed a handgun at the clerk and demanded money, according to Philip.

The robber then took cash and fled east on Colorado Avenue, Philip said.

Philip said the clerk was the only person in the store at the time of the robbery and that no one was injured.

The suspect is described as 5 feet 10 inches tall with a medium build. He was last seen wearing a white hooded sweatshirt with a red T-shirt over it, a ski mask and black pants, shoes, and gloves, police said.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Palo Alto police at (650) 329-2413, or anonymously at (650) 383-8984. Tips can also be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org.

Solano Co.: Man Killed by Train in Dixon Identified as Vacaville Resident

The Solano County coroner's office has identified a man who was killed when he was struck by an Amtrak train in Dixon on Monday morning as 37-year-old Roberto Martin Gutierrez, of Vacaville.

Gutierrez was hit from behind by the southbound train near West A Street several hundred feet from the nearest crossing around 10:30 a.m., Dixon police said.

The train, which was traveling from Sacramento to San Jose with 62 passengers on board, was delayed by nearly two hours because of the incident, Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham said.

Graham and Dixon police said the engineer sounded the train's horn but that Gutierrez did not respond.

Nothing at the scene indicated that Gutierrez was wearing headphones that would have prevented him from hearing the approaching train, Harris said.

 

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